National Women’s Hockey League

This blog is dedicated to the memory of  the National Women’s Hockey League in order to help fans to share archives.

The NWHL (French: Ligue Nationale de Hockey Féminin) was a women’s ice hockey league, established in 1999. After the 2006-07 season, the league ceased operations, and its teams moved to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and Western Women’s Hockey League.

The League consisted of two divisions: the older Eastern Division (later the Eastern and Central Divisions) consists of seven teams based in Ontario and Quebec, while the Western Division was formed in 2002 with the addition of the Calgary Oval X-Treme and the Edmonton Chimos- however, because the high travel costs for the two teams, the two teams broke off and formed the Western Women’s Hockey League. Although the WWHL currently operates separately from the NWHL, the league is nevertheless considered to be the Western Division of the NWHL, after the two leagues agreed to merge in 2006 (but, as of the end of the 2006-07 season, have not fully done so). Because of the different league structure in the Western Division, only the structure of the Eastern and Central Divisions is discussed in detail here.

Teams in the Eastern and Central Divisions play a 35-game unbalanced but interlocking schedule, with the four teams from the Central Division and the top two teams from the Eastern Division qualifying for the postseason. In the NWHL playoffs, teams play a best-of-three series to determine the Eastern and Central Division champions, who face off for the Clarkson Cup. (Prior to the introduction of the Clarkson Cup, the NWHL Championship Cup was awarded instead).

Teams from the Eastern and Central Divisions do not play against the Western Division teams at all in the regular season or postseason, although as a result of the merge there are plans to merge the NWHL and WWHL there are plans to have a league-wide championship between the Western Women’s Hockey League Champions and the champion from the Eastern and Central Divisions. Like their counterparts in the West, teams in the NWHL are eligible for entry into the Canadian women’s senior hockey championship, the Esso Women’s Nationals, where they may play against the teams from the WWHL during the course of the tournament.